Although we tend to speak of salvation as “Jesus in my heart” (a phrase used only one time in the Bible—Eph. 3:17) or as “Christ in me” (which is mentioned five times in the Bible—2 Cor. 13:5, Rom. 8:10, Gal. 4:19, Gal. 2:20, Col. 1:27), Paul says something far more often: He uses the phrase “in Christ” 165 times. The Bible’s favorite way of describing our salvation is one we rarely use. For Paul, salvation was simple: It was being joined to Jesus Christ.
When I first began to study Paul, I glossed over this description and assumed it was just another way of talking about what Jesus did for me on the cross. But the more I read Scripture, the more I realized that Paul was actually talking about being joined to Jesus. As John Calvin writes, “But we do not regard Christ as outside of and distant from us, in such a way that His righteousness is imputed to us in mechanical fashion, but we put Him on and are made members of His body, and He has deemed us worthy to be united with him.”